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 News and Features

 Issue 100 - Centenary July 1997


Gladys takes the rise out of Bill

John Shore

It's funny how some PR exercises cry out for help and get it, usually from a most unexpected source. Take, for example, the gathering at St. Katherine's Dock near Tower Bridge in London, of crews taking part in the Atlantic Challenge.

Race organisers The Challenge Business billed it as a unique spectacle of 15 identical boats rowing up the Thames underneath Tower Bridge. Unique it was, picturesque even.

But what made it newsworthy was the unplanned splitting of the motorcade of the most powerful man on earth (that's Bill Clinton, by the way, not Denis Oswald) by the lifting of the most unique bridge in the world. Ryvita, sponsors of two lads from Poole Rowing Club, own a Thames sailing barge named Gladys host ship for the Ryvita contingent. Gladys arrived at the bridge at the appointed time.

Mr Clinton, en route from lunch at a Thames-side eaterie with Tony Blair and the charming Cherie, was not so punctual and arrived just as the bridge was rising, splitting his motorcade in half, much to the consternation of security.

A spokesman for Tower Bridge is quoted as saying, 'We tried to contact the American Embassy, but they wouldn't answer the 'phone.' The result? Acres of coverage for Gladys, its captain Terry Everitt and mate Andrew Twidell, plus the two lads from Poole RC, but, as far as most newspaper readers could see, not a word on the gathering of small craft doing their row-past.

© Copyright Regatta Magazine, 1997.

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